Podemos has formally demanded this Saturday that Irene Montero continue to head the Ministry of Equality if the coalition government with the PSOE is reissued. In a new fight against Sumar and in an attempt to assert its weight in the act of starting the political course, the general secretary of Podemos, Ione Belarra, has also announced the opening of a process of “reflection and debate” to renew the political documents that will define the course of the party in the next legislature. The speech of the also acting Minister of Social Rights, prior to the meeting of the State Citizen Council, the highest governing body of the party, has had two very clear messages: one about Podemos’s proposals to support the investiture of Pedro Sánchez; the other, around the future of the formation and its new fit in a project under the orders of Yolanda Díaz in which they are already a minority. The event, held mid-morning at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, has become a vindication of the figure of Montero, and Belarra’s intervention anticipates the battle lines of the coming months.
Avoiding at all times to talk about red lines or immovable conditions, and without questioning her affirmative vote in a hypothetical investiture of Pedro Sánchez, the leader of Podemos has outlined her “proposals” for an agreement with the socialists: freeze rents, lower prices the shopping basket and public transport, raise the minimum wage to 1,500 euros per month, repeal the gag law, renew the General Council of the Judiciary and, “above all,” continue managing Equality with the current minister at the helm. “It is essential that Irene Montero and her team continue to lead the Ministry of Equality,” she said.
Sumar’s conversations with the PSOE are led by a team led by Nacho Álvarez, Secretary of State, economic spokesperson for Díaz’s party and also responsible for this portfolio in Podemos, but those from Belarra also seek to have a direct dialogue. The minister has insisted that Montero “has turned Spain into a reference for the rights of women and the LGTBI community throughout the world” and has opted for her and her team to continue “promoting transformations” in this area, as a care system, the fight against sexist violence or an anti-racist law. “I think it would be Podemos’s best contribution to the next coalition government,” she concluded.
The Minister of Equality herself had spoken before about this idea, cheered by nearly 500 militants at the Fernando de Rojas del Círculo Theater, which was too small to accommodate the thousand supporters who had attended. Among the audience were politicians from other parties, such as Gabriel Rufián, from ERC; Carlos Sánchez Mato, from IU; or Juan López de Uralde, from Alianza Verde.
“You should all be very clear, Ione too, that you can count on me,” Montero had anticipated. “We can guarantee that there will be profound transformations in the next coalition government.” In the same week in which the Sumar parliamentary group has established its leadership body and has wanted to settle the debate on the deputy spokespersons (of which Podemos and IU have been left out, in favor of regionalist groups with fewer deputies), The Secretary of Organization, Lilith Verstrynge, has also demanded “sovereignty, own voice and capacity for political action” to continue “pushing” these changes.
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To face this new stage within Sumar and already internally, Belarra has advocated opening a discussion process that “redefines” the political direction of the party in the coming years. The general secretary has explained that the objectives with which the management presented itself to the fourth Citizen Assembly in 2021—turn Yolanda Díaz into a candidate for the presidency to “expand the electoral base” and aspire to be the majority force in the Government—“not have been fulfilled.”
“Between now and November 4, our organization will debate, amend and vote on a political document that we will make public throughout the day with the aim of strengthening Podemos politically and organizationally,” said Belarra, who criticized the traumatic agreement of integration in Sumar for the 23-J elections; a process, he has said, that “cannot be called unity”, which he has described as “unfair” and which, he has stressed, has led to a “loss of votes and seats”. “Agreements under these conditions cannot be repeated,” he stated, alluding to the exclusion of Irene Montero from the electoral lists of 23-J and to the unanimous applause of the audience.
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